Monday Morning Minute: July 18, 2022

Union Work

New Local Agreement Ratified at Kimberly-Clark’s Mobile, Ala., Mill

USW Locals 1575 & 1421 – Kimberly-Clark – Mobile, Ala. – The membership at Kimberly-Clark’s Mobile, Ala., retail and consumer tissue mill recently ratified a new agreement after twice rejecting extension offers. With close to 500 members between the production and maintenance locals, the locals’ 75 percent ratification turnout was impressive and indicated that both locals were united throughout the bargaining process.

The membership achieved increases in safety allowances such as shoes, glasses and other personal protective equipment (PPE); gained vacation time for new hires; improved flat dollar short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) benefits by moving to a percentage-based system resulting in, approximately, a 30 percent increase for the top pay in the mill, and secured seven weeks of parental leave where there previously was none. According to Local 1575 President Kevin Averett, another big win was achieving transfer language that included a monetary piece if workers are not transferred within a certain time period.

Averett also said: “The bargaining committee put in a lot of hard work. Once we received the company’s counters and proposals, we got right to work. In the end, we achieved the biggest wage increases in the mill’s history. The membership was unified throughout the process, and with the IBEW as well.” Congratulations to the membership of Locals 1575 and 1421!

Retirement of a Longtime Local Union Leader

USW Local 10-701 – Domtar – Johnsonburg, Pa. – Seasoned Local Union President Dane Condino is retiring after 43 years of work at Domtar’s Johnsonburg, Pa., fine and specialty papers mill. Dane served in many positions within Local Union 10-701, which represents the mill, and his work and leadership related to the Domtar council has been invaluable. Dane is a 4th generation paper maker, but the family legacy does not stop there as his son now also works at the mill.

On behalf of the council leadership and paper sector, we want to say “thank you” to Dane for everything he has done and will continue to do for the council and our union. We wish Dane nothing but the best for him and his family.

In solidarity,

the Domtar Union Council family


International Paper Mill Joint Health and Safety Conference in Houston, Texas – July 25th through 28th

A reminder that the International Paper Mill Joint Health and Safety Conference will take place in Houston, Texas, over the dates of July 25th through July 28th. Attendees should only include the presidents for all unions (or designees) and one member from each local union who is active in the safety effort (this may be one in the same). Those attending should work with their local management to confirm travel arrival and departure dates.

Participants have two items for pre-work this year. The first task this year was for the mill to either use the Gallery Walk poster from last fall or update it, focusing on safety initiatives on equipment and workplace conditions. We will report out on Gallery Walk winners and other takeaways from the conference in an upcoming Monday Morning Minute.

Industry Update

Ahlstrom-Munksjö to Focus on Sustainability and Change Name to Ahlstrom

USW Locals 2-20, 2-221, 2-316, 1778, 2-15 & 629 – Ahlstrom-Munksjö – Kaukauna, Wis.; Mosinee, Wis., Rhinelander, Wis. & Mount Holly Springs, Pa.

Ahsltrom-Munksjö is prioritizing sustainability after a series of acquisitions, mergers and growth over the past five years. In late 2018, Ahlstrom-Munksjö acquired Expera Specialty Solutions, comprised of three USW-represented mills located in Kaukauna, Wis., (Local 2-20); Mosinee, Wis., (Locals 2-221 & 2-316), and Rhinelander, Wis., (Locals 1778 & 2-15).

The company announced that it is accelerating its strategic plan to become the preferred sustainable specialty materials company. Following the ownership reorganization of its decor business, estimated to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2022, Ahlstrom-Munksjö plans to change its business name to Ahlstrom.

Global trends—such as higher air/water quality requirements, restrictions on use of harmful chemicals, increasing health awareness as well as plastic-to-paper substitution and e-commerce in packaging—put Ahlstrom-Munksjö in a unique position to capture additional value from the growing markets for fiber-based specialty materials and make a larger contribution to society through its strong market position.

Furthermore, the pandemic has demonstrated the contribution Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s medical products can have on people’s wellbeing, and underlines the importance of healthcare as a market for the company. The company’s USW-represented liquid filtration mill and converting site in Mount Holly Springs, Pa., (Local 629), owned by Ahlstrom since 2005, produces paper that is used in rapid test kits, biological sample collection, water purification, laboratory filtration, and food and beverage processing.

From Two Sides North America – Paper or Plastic? In a Circular Economy, the Answer is Clear

Becoming truly circular doesn’t come easy or cheap. It’s a challenge that requires intent, investment and innovation. The paper industry figured this out decades ago, and it has been at the leading edge of circularity ever since.

Paper manufacturing exemplifies the very definition of circularity – industrial processes and economic activities that are 1) restorative or regenerative by design, 2) enable resources used to maintain their highest value for as long as possible, and 3) aim to eliminate waste through the superior design of materials, products and systems.

The paper manufacturing process uses mostly renewable, carbon-neutral energy generated from biomass which, when burned, recycles biogenic carbon (carbon absorbed from the atmosphere and stored in trees) back into the environment. This fact, combined with investments in energy efficiency and process improvements helped the U.S. paper industry reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per ton of product produced by 24.1% between 2005 and 2020 (American Forest and Paper Association).

Water used in the manufacturing process at a typical U.S. paper mill is recycled up to 10 times. Then, it’s cleaned to meet strict state and federal water quality standards and most of it, around 90 percent, is returned to its source. About 1 percent remains in the manufactured paper products, and the rest evaporates back into the environment (National Council on Air and Stream Improvement, NCASI). And mills that produce kraft pulp have highly efficient recovery systems that capture and recycle about 97 percent of pulping chemicals (NCASI).

Paper or Plastic? In a Circular Economy, the Answer is Clear - Two Sides North America (

Tell Us Your Stories!

Has your local done something amazing? Have you had a great solidarity action? Done something huge to help your community? Made significant connections with other labor groups? Is your Women of Steel or Next Gen committee making waves? Have you had success in bargaining, major accomplishments? We all stay so busy working to improve our workplaces and communities that we often do not take 5 minutes to reflect, share and celebrate our accomplishments.

Tell us your story so we can all be part of it! Contact Laura Donovan at, or at 412-562-2504.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222